07/09/2021 18:44 BST

Boris Johnson's 'Emotional Commitment' To No New Taxes Is Roundly Mocked

The PM invents a new political euphemism.

Boris Johnson has added a new phrase to the vocabulary of British politics after trying to duck questions about whether he would sanction more tax rises.

The government announced on Tuesday tax hikes for millions of Britons in order to pump an extra £12bn a year into the NHS and social care.

It broke a Conservative manifesto commitment not to do so, a move that encouraged journalists at a Downing Street press conference to repeatedly press the prime minister on his credentials as a low-tax Tory. 

After a couple of swerves, the PM said that it was a matter for the chancellor, but added: “I certainly don’t want any more tax rises in this parliament. If you want me to give that emotional commitment, of course that’s the case.”

“Emotional commitment” became an instant classic of the genre.

It joins the vast lexicon that includes a politician who resigns in controversy and says they are “looking forward to spending more time with my family”, or being asked a direct question and pivoting to something completely different by saying “what I would say ...”.

The energy of the response perhaps has more in common with a politico stating that there are “no plans” to do something – which leaves the door open to change direction when some plans magically appear.

In any case, Westminster watchers were not too impressed. 


And pretty soon, people were making an “emotional commitment” to the less than glamorous aspects of their real life.